HC Deb 30 October 1975 vol 898 cc607-8W
Mr. Steen

asked the Secretary of State for Social Services (1) what is the total cost to the National Health Service per region per year of the importation of non-injectable sterile water over the last five years;

(2) what is the total amount—in bottles—on non-injectable sterile water imported per year per region over the last five years.

Dr. Owen

To obtain information about imported sterile water by cost and by numbers of bottles per region per year for the last five years would entail a special inquiry of National Health Service authorities related only to purchases from the single firm that has imported its sterile water from the USA hitherto.

However, as I promised the hon. Member for Bournemouth, East (Mr. Cordle) in my reply to him on 1st May—[Vol. 891, c. 215–6]—an inquiry has been made into the supply of sterile water during the year ended March 1975. This showed that the total NHS requirement was nearly 4 million litres, of which only about 15 per cent. was purchased commercially from two firms; only one of these was importing its sterile water at that time. The cost of supply of imported sterile water to the health service was approximately £250,000 for the year in question, but I have no way of knowing the imported price. The firm has now developed its production capacity in this country and has recently been notified of

Mr. O'Malley

The information requested is available only on a half-yearly, rather than quarterly, basis and is set our below from May 1970 to the latest date for which figures are available:

the grant of a product licence. There will therefore be no need to import any further supplies of sterile water.

I am still studying the wider implications of this matter.

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